Opera Scotland

Hans Gál Suggest updates

Born Brunn am Gebirge, nr Vienna, 5 August 1890.

Died Edinburgh, 1 October 1987.

Austrian (later British) composer and teacher.

Hans Gál was one of the most important figures in Scottish musical life in the years following the Second World War. He composed a range of orchestral works - symphonies and concertos - as well as chamber works and operas. Performance of his work was banned by the Nazi regime in 1933, and he eventually emigrated to Britain after the 1938 Anschluss, settling in Edinburgh. After the war, during which he was interned, along with many other aliens, on the Isle of Man, he joined the music faculty at the University of Edinburgh. He became an important teacher during the period from 1945 until his retirement in 1960. He was also highly influential during the early years of the Edinburgh Festival.

The most successful of his four operas, the second, Die heilige Ente (The Holy Duck), was a comedy, premiered at Düsseldorf in 1923. It was soon performed in Berlin and Prague. It was followed by his third opera, Das Lied der Nacht, his only serious opera, composed in a powerful late-romantic style. This had a successful premiere in Breslau, followed by further  performances in Germany (Königsberg) and Austria (Graz).

He was also a musicologist, and in 1927 prepared an edition of Dido and Aeneas for performance in Vienna. In 1936 he also prepared Monsigny's 1761 opera On ne s'avise jamais de tout for performance at Baden, outside Vienna.

Operas performed in Scotland are shown in bold:

01   Der Arzt der Sobeide (Breslau 1919) (Zorel)

02   Die heilige Ente (Düsseldorf 1923) (Levetzow & Feld)

03   Das Lied der Nacht (Breslau 1926) (Levetzow)

04   Die beiden Klaas (1933; York 1990) (Levetzow)

Roles in Scotland

Song of the Night

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